Economic and Labour Situation in Japan, October 2023
Prime Minister Kishida has appointed former member of the House of Councillors Wakako Yata as a special adviser on wage and employment issues. Mrs. Yata, who hails from the Panasonic labour union, ran for and won a seat as an organizational member within the Japanese Electrical Electronic and Information Union in 2016. Although she was unsuccessful in the recent House of Councillors elections, she made a significant contribution as the leading opposition member on the Economic and Industry Committee in the parliament.
It is unusual for someone from a labour union background to be appointed as a special adviser on wage and employment issues, which highlights Prime Minister Kishida’s commitment to increasing wages within his cabinet.
At a news conference, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno expressed hope that Mrs. Yata will use her post to advance the Cabinet’s key policies of labour market reform and structural wage hikes.
Furthermore, Prime Minister Kishida attended the regular convention of the Japanese Trade Union Confederation (RENGO), which started on October 5, to strengthen cooperation with labour unions. In the convention, Kishida emphasized the commonalities between his government’s agenda and the fundamental goals of RENGO: pay increases, workforce expansion, and raising the minimum wage.
Labour Force Survey Monthly Results¹
The number of employed persons in August 2023 was 69.60 million, an increase of 310,000 over the same month the previous year, surpassing the pre-pandemic level for the same month in 2019. By gender, this included 37.07 million men, down 110,000, and 30.66 million women, up 330,000 from the previous year.
The number of unemployed persons in August 2023 was 1.86 million, an increase of 90,000 from the same month in the previous year.
The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in August was 2.7%, unchanged from the same month the previous year. The unemployment rate was 2.9% for men, up 0.2, and 2.4% for women, down 0.2 from the same month the previous year.
Units: 10,000 persons
|Population Aged Fifteen and Over||11,023||1||0.0|
|Not in Labour Force||4,056||-30||-0.7|
|Labour Force Participation Rate (%)||63.1||0.2||–|
|Employment Rate (%)||61.4||0.1||–|
|Unemployment Rate, Original Series (%)||2.7||0.1||–|
|Current Month||Change From
|Unemployment Rate, Seasonally Adjusted (%)||2.7||0.0|
(3) Job Availability
Japan’s job availability in August stood at 1.29, unchanged from the previous month. This ratio means there were 129 job openings for every 100 job seekers.
The ratio of regular employee job offers to applicants was 1.02, unchanged from the previous month.
The ratio of new job offers to applicants, a leading indicator for the labour market, was 2.33, up 0.06 over the previous month. The number of new job offers increased 1% over the same month the previous year. By industry, the accommodation and food services sector saw the sharpest rise at 9.8%, followed the education and learning support sector at 8.4%, and the healthcare and welfare sector at 4.8%. On the other hand, the manufacturing sector dropped 7.5%, while the construction sector sank 3.8%.
Industrial Production fluctuates indecisively
Industrial output in August was unchanged from the previous month. Although production was flat, shipments increased while inventory ratio and inventories decreased.
The industries that mainly contributed to this increase were as follows: (1) petroleum and coal products; (2) electrical machinery, and information and communication electronics equipment; and (3) fabricated metals, in that order.
According to the Survey of Production Forecasts in Manufacturing, production was expected to increase 5.8% in September and increase 3.8% in October.
August 2023 2015 average = 100
|Seasonally Adjusted Index||Original Index|
|Index||Change From Previous Month (%)||Index||Change From Previous Year (%)|
Family Income and Expenditure Survey³
(1) Expenditure of Households of Two Persons or More
Average monthly consumption expenditure of households of two or more persons in August was 293,161 yen, up 1.1% in nominal terms and down 2.5% in real terms from the previous year, declining for the sixth consecutive month. By component in real terms, spending on education fell 13.6% and medical care fell 11.2%. Housing rose 4.5%.
2) Income and Expenditures for Workers’ Households
Average monthly income per household stood at 544,043 yen, down 3.5% in nominal terms and down 6.9% in real terms from the previous year. The average level of consumption expenditure was 311,510 yen per month, down 3.4% in nominal terms and down 6.8% in real terms year-on-year.
The consumer price index (CPI) in August was 105.9 (2020 = 100), up 3.2% over the previous year and up 0.2% over the previous month. Core inflation (CPI less food and energy) was up 4.3% over the previous year and up 0.3% over the previous month, marking the seventeenth straight month of increase. Energy prices dipped 9.8%, as electricity bills fell 20.9% due to the government’s subsidization of utility bills for consumers. Food prices (excluding volatile fresh items) rose 9.2%, the fastest pace in nearly 47 years. Egg prices surged 35.2% amid bird flu-related supply concerns.
|All Items, Less Fresh Food||105.7||3.1||0.2|
|All Items, Less Fresh Food and Energy||105.2||4.3||0.3|
- Source: Labour Force Survey Monthly Results (Statistics Bureau of Japan) (https://www.stat.go.jp/english/data/roudou/results/month/index.html)
- Source: Indices of Industrial Production (Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry) (https://www.meti.go.jp/english/statistics/tyo/iip/index.html)
- Source: Summary of the Latest Month on Family Income and Expenditure Survey (Statistics Bureau of Japan) (https://www.stat.go.jp/english/data/kakei/156.html)
- Source: Consumer Price Index (Statistics Bureau of Japan)
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